A garment worker was killed yesterday when an out-of-control transport truck struck her as it flipped over in Kampong Chhnang’s Rolea Ba’ier district, injuring 13 others onboard – one of two such accidents in a 24-hour period.
The fatal crash occurred early yesterday morning on National Road 5 in Chrey Bakk commune, as the 35-year-old Khoun Vanny – being driven to work by her husband – waited along the roadside when the couple’s motorbike broke down.
The truck was speeding when the driver lost control, according to Rolea Ba’ier police chief Tim Chanthy. After striking Vanny, it finally came to a stop after hitting a nearby house. The driver fled the scene.
“We found that the truck was very old and had a damaged transmission,” he said. “We do not know if he has a driver’s licence but the police are looking to arrest him.”
A series of spot checks in Kampong Chhnang in May found that nearly half of the drivers of more than 180 garment worker transport trucks were unlicensed. Earlier this year, the government vowed to crack down on drivers without licences and provide them with road safety training and driving tests.
Following the accident, the National Social Security Fund announced that Vanny’s family would be given 4 million riel (about $1,000) for her funeral and that they would pay for the medical costs of the 13 injured workers.
Noun Sam Ol, a union official for the Free Trade Union in Kampong Chhnang, said that all of the workers involved in the accident worked at the M&V International Manufacturing factory.
While garment worker transportation has never been given much consideration by the sector’s stakeholders, William Conklin, country director for labour rights NGO Solidarity Center, said the government was starting to look into the issue.
“This is a problem in the making for many years,” Conklin said. “Workers have been seen as having little value beyond their labour and are looked at as a commodity.”
Though a complicated issue, he said authorities could look at slowing down traffic for all vehicles, creating off-road loading zones, and potentially mapping high-accident areas.
In the day’s second incident, a truck carrying garment workers in Svay Rieng province collided with another vehicle transporting workers on Monday evening, injuring 12 of its passengers, said provincial police chief Och Saren.
He added that police had identified the driver as 52-year-old Nuon Mol, who he said was attempting to overtake the other truck.